The 32nd Annual Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals
by Brandies Elitch -- Wild About Cars
you collect Chrysler products, or just admire them, All-Chryslers at
Carlisle is something you need to do at least once. If it’s not the
largest gathering of Chrysler products I don’t know what is. This year
there were 2400 vehicles on display and 2700 vendor spaces. But before I
describe the show, I want to give you an historical perspective on how
it came to be, because it is a pretty interesting story.
have to start with the forerunner of this and every other similar show:
the Antique Automobile Club of America, Hershey Region, Annual Fall
Meet, commonly known as “Hershey.” At the 1973 Hershey, two men named
Chip Miller and Bill Miller Jr. (not related) took at 1954 Corvette to
be displayed at the Milestone Car Society booth. The officials asked
them to remove it because it was not 25 years old. This must have been
and Bill realized that this rule was excluding a lot of people and cars
and decided to do something about it. In 1974 they rented the Carlisle
fairgrounds, about a half hour drive away, and put no restrictions on
what could be shown or sold. They held the meet the week before Hershey,
so many people came for Carlisle and just stayed through Hershey.
1980, Carlisle was a sellout and they had to turn people away, but the
next year they were able to buy the 82 acre fairgrounds and ultimately
tailor it specifically for car shows, with paved roads, bathrooms, a
stage, and ten buildings. It was so popular that they started a Spring
Carlisle, but even this did not satisfy the demand, so they added
specific monthly shows for Corvette, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Truck, and
Imports. Now, Carlisle Events produces 17 events, covering five cities
and three states, 11 of which are at Carlisle. The All-Chrysler
Nationals event is held in July.
And that brings us to this year’s event. The kickoff was held Thursday night at the local Dodge dealer (www.moparrebellion.com).
Drag racing was held Friday night at the 1/8 mile NHRA sanctioned
Quarter Aces Drag-o-Way. There was a special display in an old
dealership called the Max Wedge Reunion. Arlen Vanke was scheduled to
appear but unfortunately took ill, but Roger Lindamood was there with
his 63 Plymouth and 64 Dodge, and there were 19 other Max Wedge ‘62 and
‘63 Dodges and Plymouths.
me, the highlight was the Ramchargers Reunion, with members of the
original group being interviewed and signing autographs. I took the
glovebox door off my ’68 Dart to have it autographed by Tom Hoover
(“Father of the Hemi,” Tom Coddington, Mike Buckel, Al Adam, John
Wehrly, Dave Rockwell, and Dick Skoglund. Mike is a great storyteller,
and he mentioned that they are in discussions with a movie producer to
make a film about the Ramchargers, and boy is it a great story,
definitely worthy of a full length feature film!
was also a thrill to meet “Mr. Norm” Krause at his booth and get his
autograph too. Mr. Norm is a legend to Chrysler collectors, and his
dealership, Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago, was the epicenter of Mopar
high performance activities in the sixties. Go to www.mrnorms.com and you will see just how important Mr. Norm was to the Chrysler community.
If you go to the website for Schumacher Creative Enterprises (www.engine-swaps.com)
you will see that they make a kit to make a Mr. Norm replica GSS 68
Dart by installing a 440 block and Torqueflite, and I am about to begin
such a project right now. One of the best things about Carlisle is that
you can find all the vendors who sell an amazing amount of original and
reproduction restoration parts, materials, and services, and the only
way you would find them is to go to a meet like this.
Some other features of this meet are:
- A Mopar Survivors display, featuring all original and unrestored cars (at least 85% original)
- An Invitational Display of particularly rare or noteworthy cars
- Dyno testing via a mobile dyno
- An Autocross and Ride-Along featuring the Hotchkis suspension
- An artwork display by noted automotive artist David Snyder
32 years of putting on this event, it has reached a standard of
excellence that few other meets of this type can match. Now I am
wondering if I should attend any of the other Carlisle events, because I
do have cars from other manufacturers, but for me the July meet is the